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Stackyard News May 2012

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Claas and Horsch Set Maize Drilling World Record

Claas and Horsch set a new world record on 26th April by drilling 448.29 ha in 24 hours with the Maestro 24 SW drill and the Claas Xerion 5000 Trac tractor. The joint bid took place near Chaplygin, Russia, about 200 miles south-east of Moscow, with the goal of setting a world record for high-speed precision drilling.

World-record-setting machine combination: Claas Xerion 5000 and Horsch Maestro 24.70 SW single-grain seed drill.

Claas Xerion 5000 and Horsch Maestro 24.70 SW single-grain seed drill

The goal of the combined bid was to sow 24 rows of maize at a high speed averaging 14.7 km/h and with a very good coefficient of variation. It is the first world record of this kind in which maize drilling was carried out with underground fertilisation. The attempt was staged in Russia because the Eastern European market offers the greatest potential for the technique used here. The 16-man world-record-setting team was made up of Claas and Horsch employees and included two independent experts.

Machine combination

The Maestro 24.70 SW single-grain seed drill manufactured by Horsch drills 24 seed rows with a spacing of 70 cm and a sowing depth of between 1.5 and 9.0 cm. For the world record attempt, the depth was set to 6 cm. The seeds are fed by a “Seed on Demand” system, which ensures easy filling and shortens filling times. The central tank has a seed and fertiliser capacity of 2,000 litres and 7,000 litres respectively. The Maestro was named machine of the year 2012 at Agritechnica.

The Maestro permits sowing speeds of 15 km/h and above, depending on the placement accuracy required. At 15 km/h, the machine achieves absolutely precise single-grain results. For this purpose, the chute features an integral grain sensor, which detects not only the number of grains but also their spacing. The sensor sends data to the driver's control terminal, which informs the driver row-by-row of missing and double spots and displays the coefficient of variation. This enables the driver to react promptly to changing situations and to produce optimum work results. The metering devices are driven electrically and are individually switchable.

Claas and Horsch opted for a Claas Xerion 5000 as their tractor unit, not least because of their collaborative efforts of the previous year. With its power output of 524 hp, the Xerion was the ideal candidate to complete the pair of machines going for the world record. The four equally sized wheels of this large tractor are able to convert engine output into optimum tractive power without damaging the soil. These are the ideal prerequisites to always maintaining sufficient reserves on land that becomes hilly in places. The Xerion is equipped with a Telematics system that makes it possible to verify and document continuously the position of the machine and its settings.

Throughout the 24 hours, all machine and sowing parameters were monitored and documented constantly by Claas Telematics and the grain sensor of the seed drill.
In total, 10 tonnes of seed and 47 tonnes of fertiliser were consumed. As a result, 10 pit stops had to be made to fill the seed drill. Each stop was also used as an opportunity to refuel the tractor. The world record was achieved with an average fuel consumption of 3.17 l/ record in the precision drilling of maize

Surrounding conditions

The land worked, which comprised two fields of 320 and 170 hectares respectively, is situated near the town of Chaplygin, approximately 360 km south east of Moscow in a stoneless black earth region with favourable arable farming conditions (pH value 5.8, humus content 6.4 percent). The yield-limiting factor here is the water. The area has an annual precipitation of 400 – 450 millimetres.

On both fields, the crop farmed prior to the maize was winter wheat. Directly after the harvest, the land underwent shallow tillage by a Horsch Joker 12 RT. This was followed by non-turning cultivation including the introduction of fertiliser. In the spring, the land underwent shallow tillage by a Horsch Tiger 10 LT cultivator.

The condition of the land at the start of the world record attempt was, unlike that of the test land, optimum as far as the surface was concerned because the soil was well dried. Deeper down, however, a lot of damp black earth was encountered. The test land could not be used because this had been ploughed and was too wet due to plough pan formation.

“From the Telematics recordings, it can be seen that we worked under realistic conditions. The first field had a very irregular shape, with wedge-shaped corners, for example”, explains Claas project manager Harald Lob. Florian Ermer, project manager for Horsch, adds: “We had to stop three times because, on one occasion, the drilling assemblies became blocked due to a driving error and, on two other occasions, paper had ended up in the metering devices. These are also factors that arise under real agricultural conditions.”

After it had set the world record, the team continued its work, tilling the remaining land and leaving behind two cleanly sown fields.

World record team

The world record team of Horsch and Claas was 16 men strong. Truck drivers maintained supplies of seed, fertiliser and diesel. Two persons were tasked with ensuring a smooth and, above all, speedy pit stop for quick seed drill refills and tractor refuelling. The machine combination was driven by four drivers on rotation. Technical support was provided by a team of three technicians, while another three persons were always on hand to take photos and capture video footage.

The independent jury was two agricultural specialist editors from Germany and Russia: Johannes Hädicke of Deutscher Landwirtschaftsverlag (dlv), Munich, and Alexei Andreev of “Neue Landwirtschaft Russland” (Russian edition of “Neue Landwirtschaft” agricultural magazine).

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